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Delbert L. Latta Congressional Papers - MS 546

Introduction | Biographical Sketch | Scope and Contents | Series Description | Inventory

 Introduction

The Congressional Papers of Delbert Leroy Latta, Republican Congressman from the Ohio Fifth District, consists of over 255 linear feet of correspondence, subject and committee files, clippings, press releases, and publications covering Latta's political career from 1959 through 1989, including the period of the Vietnamese Conflict and Watergate.

The collection was donated to the Center for Archival Collections through the cooperation of Delbert Latta between August and December 1988. No restrictions exist on the use of this collection. Duplication is permitted for the purposes of preservation and research. The preliminary processing and inventory to the collection was prepared by Renate W. Prescott, a graduate student intern, with the final register completed by Marilyn Levinson, Curator of Manuscripts in 1998.  An addition was incorporated in 2012.

 Biographical Sketch

Delbert Leroy Latta was born on March 5, 1920 in the Wood County, Ohio town of Weston. Attending public school in North Baltimore, he graduated in 1938 from High School in McComb, Ohio. He attended Findlay College from 1938 to 1940, and got his LL.B degree in 1943 and an A.B. in 1945, both from Ohio Northern University in Ada.

During the period prior to World War II, from 1938 to 1941, Latta served in the Ohio National Guard and the United States Army, Thirty-Seventh Division, and was in the United States Marine Corps Reserve in 1942 and 1943.

He began his legal career with the practice of law in Bowling Green, Ohio, having been admitted to the bar in 1944. He served in the Ohio State Senate for three terms from 1953 to 1958, and then was elected to the 86th Congress on November 4, 1958, serving for fourteen terms until January 3, 1989.

During his tenure in Congress he was a member of the House Rules Committee, the House Budget Committee, where he was the ranking minority member, and served three terms as a member of the House Agriculture Committee. In addition, he was appointed to the Select Committee on Export Control of the 87th Congress; was a member of the Battle of Lake Erie Sesquicentennial Celebration Commission during the 88th Congress; and served on the Select Committee on Standards and Conduct of the 89th Congress. In his Party activities he was a member of the Republican Task Force on Agriculture, 89th Congress; appointed to the House Republican Policy Committee of the 92nd Congress; on the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee during the 93rd Congress; member of the Special Republican Legislative Program Task Force of the 94th Congress; was Chairman of the Ohio Republican Congressional Delegation of the 94th Congress; served as a Delegate to the Republican National Conventions in 1968, 1972 and 1976. As a representative of the United States he was the U.S. Delegate to the Interparliamentary Union in Abidjan, Ivory Coast in 1973 and to the North Atlantic Assembly in England in 1974.

After Latta's Congressional career, he returned to his home in Bowling Green, Ohio, where he remains active in the community. In 1992 Latta was appointed to serve on the Bowling Green State University Board of Trustees, with his term running from May 17, 1992 until May 16, 2001.

 Scope and Content

The Delbert Latta Congressional Collection is a good representation of the political life of the Republican 5th U.S. Congressional District of Bowling Green for nearly 30 years from 1959 through 1989. Although some years are missing, the collection reflects not only constituents' views on certain issues, it also is a fairly accurate reflection of how Congressman Latta served his people.

These letters , which form the largest part of the collection, offer a rare insight into how the public generally felt about matters which affected them directly, such as Agriculture, concerns about aging (Social Security), and wider national issues such as the Vietnam War, Foreign Policy matters (immigration, the Iranian hostage situation, OPEC), Abortion, and Prayer in Schools.

Interestingly, Congressman Latta's response to issues in which he disagreed with the constituents view were sidestepped. For example, if someone wrote him a letter in favor of abortion or ERA, he would thank the person for the letter and perhaps add when the legislation was to come before the House. He very rarely wrote a letter in which he directly stated he disagreed with the constituent. When he answered an anti-ERA letter, he then answered that "like you, I am against the amendment." This was a very different kind of response compared to Lud Ashley who often stated boldly, "I couldn't agree with you less, and here's why." Then he would outline why he was for or against a particular piece of legislation.

In comparison with the Democrat, Thomas Ludlow Ashley Congressional Collection (MS-159), the researcher will find both collections invaluable to take the "pulse" of Northwest Ohioans for roughly the same time period. The researcher will be able to compare how each congressman reacted to issues which became important enough to prompt people to write to their congressman. The letters studied collectively also afford insight into the congressmen themselves and how each decided to address the constituent's concerns/needs.

Additional series in the collection document the day to day activities of a Member of Congress, with subject files providing the background information needed to make decisions and respond to the needs of the constituents, procedural and legal documents required in the activities of committee and legislative work, and public relations materials informing the public of actions and projects.

 Series Description

CORRESPONDENCE

CORRESPONDENCE - YELLOW FILES
1963-1988.
Arranged chronologically, then alphabetically. (Boxes 1-45)
Yellow carbon copies of all replies to Congressman Latta's correspondence; listed according to the year in which the letter was written and in alphabetical order of the correspondent's name. The years 1964, 1975, and A-H of 1969 are missing. In the upper right hand corner is the subject heading under which the correspondent's letter is filed. For example, if the correspondent wrote a social security issue, the yellow copy of Latta's response will direct the researcher to "Legislative Files/Social Security."

CORRESPONDENCE - GENERAL FILES
1964-1988.
Arranged chronologically, then alphabetically. (Boxes 46-85)
A collection of correspondence from constituents with Congressman Latta's reply attached. The General files include general subject headings such as congratulatory letters, general requests, questionnaires, etc.

CORRESPONDENCE - DEPARTMENTAL FILES
1965-1977.
Arranged chronologically, then alphabetically. (Boxes 86-95)
A collection of correspondence with Congressman Latta's reply attached. The researcher should also look through the Legislative as well as General files because many subjects are cross referenced. For example, issues related to Agriculture may be found in the Departmental files as well as Legislative and General files. The researcher should always keep in mind that these three files, though artificially separated into different sections, contain similar material. The Departmental files stop at 1977 and are picked up in the Legislative files.

CORRESPONDENCE - LEGISLATIVE FILES
1964-1988.
Arranged chronologically, then alphabetically. (Boxes 96-152)
The Legislative files are a collection of correspondence with Congressman Latta's response. The Legislative files, although not a Bills & Statements type of file, contain letters concerning issues relevant to legislation before the House that may or may not have evolved into a bill. For example, these files contain issues such as the Abortion Amendment, Social Security laws and issues, Civil Service, Poverty bills, the Vietnam war (letters for and against), etc. The researcher should note as well that the heading "Miscellaneous" contains letters which may or may not relate to specific headings within the year. If a particular letter cannot be found under a subject heading, it may be found in the Miscellaneous file. Miscellaneous, though meant to be a "catchall," may also contain misfiled letters that should really belong elsewhere.

SUBJECT/CASE FILES.

VOTING RECORDS & CONGRESSIONAL RECORD VOLUMES
1978-1988
Arranged chronologically. (Box 153-160)
Compiled tallies and statistical volumes of votes on individual bills

PRESS FILES - NEWSCLIPPINGS
1963-1988
Arranged chronologically. (Box 161-166)
Loose clippings in envelopes and folders

PRESS FILES - TOPICAL
1959-1988
Arranged chronologically and topically. (Box 167-174)
Statistical files, press releases, speech material, questionnaires, statements, endorsements, photographs, clippings, and announcements

CORPS OF ENGINEERS FILES
1959-1988
Arranged alphabetically by project. (Box 175-179)
Various Federal Corps of Engineers projects in the District, including navigation, erosion, watershed, harbor, and flood control projects

GREAT LAKES
1986-1988
Arranged alphabetically by name. (Box 179)
Personal and topical files related to pending legislation, correspondence, and news releases related to Great Lakes topics

WATER PROJECTS
1967-1979
Arranged by project name. (Box 180-184)
Correspondence, reports, studies, and subject files on various navigation, pollution, watershed, recreational, erosion, wetlands, and civil works water projects

GENERAL PROJECTS
1959-1988
Arranged alphabetically by project location or name (Box 185-201)
Files related to community based projects, including housing, water treatment, education, transportation, agriculture, elderly, industry, recreation, environmental quality, energy, post office, military, public safety, and health

POST OFFICE LISTINGS
1948-1975
Arranged alphabetically by location. (Box 202-205)
Post office and rural route appointments and policies

BOWLING GREEN STATE UNIVERSITY
1967-1973
Arranged chronologically. (Box 206)
Files related to grants, campus unrest, and miscellaneous programs

RAILROAD REORGANIZATION PLAN
1973-1976
Arranged chronologically. (Box 207-208)
Studies, bills, press clippings, and ICC reports

GRACE COMMISSION REPORTS ON COST CONTROL
1984
Arranged by volume. (Box 209)
Reports on financial management in the federal government including wages, retirement systems, health care costs, and federally subsidized programs

INFORMATION FILES
1959-1988
Arranged alphabetically by topic. (Box 210-214)
Background reports, guidelines, policies, studies, and questionnaires related to various government programs and departments

INDEPENDENT AGENCIES
1965-1977
Arranged chronologically, then alphabetically by agency. (Box 215-221)
Programs and projects of various government agencies which impact the Congressional District, including Selective Service, Veterans Administration, Treasury, Interstate Commerce Commission, Civil Service Commission, Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Communications Commission, Federal Power Commission, Environmental Protection Agency, and Small Business Administration

COMMITTEE SUBJECT FILES
1964-1988
Arranged chronologically. (Box 222-227)
Topical files related to activities of Congressional Committees in which Latta had membership or an active interest, including Judiciary, Interstate & Foreign Commerce, Interior & Insular Affairs, HEW, and Agriculture

COMMITTEE SUBJECT FILES - BUDGET COMMITTEE
1977-1988
Arranged chronologically. (Box 228-248)
Correspondence, subject files, reports, publications, hearings, statistics, articles, press releases, and official statements related to work on the House Budget Committee

D.L.L. BILLS, 90TH-98TH CONGRESS
1977-1986
Arranged chronologically or by bill number. (Box 249)
Copies of various House, Senate and Joint Resolutions in which Latta was involved or had an interest

D.L.L. RESOLUTIONS & EXTENSION OF REMARKS
1960-1966
Arranged chronologically. (Box 250-251)
Printed and handwritten notes of extensions to remarks made in the House during debate on various bills as well as a record of roll call votes

D.L.L. CONGRESSIONAL RECORD REMARKS
1965-1980
Arranged chronologically. (Box 252-253)
Printed clippings from the Congressional Record with text of remarks

NIXON, WATERGATE, AND IMPEACHMENT FILES
1973-1974
Arranged chronologically (Box 254, Boxes 256-270)
Government printed texts of recorded Presidential conversations, Committee on the Judiciary material, pamphlets, and clippings

PRINTED MATERIAL

PRESS RELEASES
1964-1976
Arranged chronologically. (Box 255)
Official printed public information releases, with some press clippings related to the release information

 Inventory

Manuscripts by Subject | Political Collections | MS 546 Latta Collection Introduction
Inventory: Yellow Files | Correspondence - General | Correspondence - Departmental Files | Correspondence - Legislative
Subject/Case Files (Voting, Press, Water Issues)  | Subject/Case Files (General, Post Offices, BGSU, Railroad Plan, Grace Commission, Information
Subject/Case Files (Agencies, Committee Files, Remarks, Watergate, Press Releases | 2012 Addition